Working alone can be defined as when you work by yourself or away from the usual work site and do not expect another worker to come visit you for a while, and you're not visible or cannot be seen by another worker. The "lone worker" also may not have readily available assistance when he or she needs it. Lone working can hold a variety of benefits for organizations, including reduced costs and increased productivity. However, security guards that work alone are at risk of facing common dangers of working security, such as falls, transportation accidents and assaults. Because guards that work on their own are isolated, they can be at risk from the inherent dangers that accompany being a lone worker. However, there are ways both employers and workers can increase safety. Here is what you need to know.
Working Alone Regulations
As an employer, you can be held accountable for the safety of your workers thanks to laws such as the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (2007) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999). While safety regulations may vary per occupation or geographical location, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, offers a few guidelines for employers to follow. For example, OSHA requires that lone workers should be accounted for by their employers. While OSHA does not provide a specific timeframe for accounting for workers that are working alone, it does explain that workers should be checked on regularly during the worker's shift whenever they are alone, such as in a limited work area or a place that is isolated. OSHA also requires workers be checked on as often as needed during the shift as appropriate for their work assignments, whether it is at the beginning or end of the shift. Accounting for an employee can be done via verbal communication or just by looking to see that they are present.
What Employers Can Do to Help Alone Workers Stay Safe
There are several steps employers can take to assist alone workers in staying safe. One of the most obvious precautions you can take to ensure the safety of your guards is to avoid having one work alone. This may involve evaluating potential dangers in the workplace. You can have a discussion with your guards and get your workers' input about what their work entails to gain insight on any potential dangerous scenarios. Gaining this insight will help you to know where to start as you devise solutions to prevent safety issues. You should also establish a procedure that encourages a safe work environment. For example, your procedure should be clear on steps to take should an intruder enter the premises. Implementing educational and training programs will also help mitigate risks. Additionally, you can take advantage of security cameras and other monitoring devices as long as you make your guards aware of them and have their permission.
What Workers Can Do to Stay Safe
One of the best ways workers can stay safe is by reporting any conditions that are unsafe in the workplace. Additionally, workers should report incidents as soon as possible to a supervisor or appropriate authority. Utilize your phone and especially your mobile phone or device to communicate with your workers easily and forestall any potential safety hazards. Workers should also be cognizant of their surroundings and utilize the "buddy" system.
Whether a security guard is new or has years of experience, working alone can be unsafe without taking the right precautions. It's vital to establish a safety procedure, assess the situation and train and educate your guards to improve safety for those working alone.